The US flag that is also is known as the “Stars and Stripes”, takes its name from the flag’s appearance. It has 50 stars that represent the current 50 states in the US and 13 stripes representing the original US states.

US Flag Backlit | By Jnn13 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

When the 13 British colonies in North America rebelled in 1775, they needed a new flag quickly – in particular on the US ships that had previously sailed under the British merchant navy red flag. A simple solution was to make a flag with stripes by sewing the white stripes on it. The British flag, which was recessed into the upper inner corner, disappeared in 1777 and was replaced by a blue field with 13 white, five-pointed stars. The latest change in the appearance of the flag was on July 4 in 1960.

The flag’s main patterns were established during the Revolutionary War but has changed 26 times since then. The reason that the flag is changed is that a new star is added for each new state in the US. Initially, it was thought that a new stripe would be added to the flag for each new state, just as with the stars but probably thought that the growing number of stripes would destroy the flag’s design. In 1818, Congress decided that it would only be 13 stripes and it would be an additional star for each new state. There has never been any rule on how the stars would be posted on the flag, now it is determined by the decree of the president.